Women who feel trapped in their marriage often display these 8 behaviors without realizing it

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We’ve heard time and time again that marriage requires hard work.

But how much work is too much work?

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, relationships take a sour turn.

They start to feel like a suffocating cage rather than an oasis of love and support.

But before we accept this reality, we navigate a period of denial.

On that note, women who feel trapped in their marriage often display these 8 behaviors without realizing it.

Don’t dismiss the warning signs.

1) They lose track of who they are

Feeling trapped in a marriage can result in a loss of self for some women.

They become overly focused on their role as a spouse, neglecting their hobbies or aspirations.

Their interests take a backseat to the demands of the marriage, so they gradually lose touch with themselves.

Whenever I become infatuated with someone, I tend to put everything else on the back burner for the first few months.

I’m so fascinated by this new person that I lose sight of what I was working towards before we got together, be it in my career or personal life.

If I’m not careful, this attitude persists, and I wake up one day wondering when was the last time I did something to make solely myself happy.

When you feel trapped in a marriage, you may dismiss your aspirations because you don’t feel like they’re worth pursuing in the first place.

You focus all your energy on your spouse, prioritizing their well-being.

This can spell disaster in the long run, as neglecting yourself leads to diminished confidence and resentment.

Don’t let things get that far.

2) They dismiss their own desires

On the same note, women who feel trapped in their marriage often suppress their desires in favor of preserving the status quo.

They convince themselves that their sacrifices are necessary for the sake of the relationship, even if it means sacrificing everything they want outside of their boo.

Whether they do it out of guilt, societal pressure, or a sense of duty, becoming a martyr is unlikely to bring fulfillment.

In fact, it has the opposite effect, making them feel even more suffocated.

In a healthy marriage, both spouses have their needs met.

Compromises and sacrifices for the good of the relationship are needed from time to time, but they should happen from both sides and should be the exception, not the norm.

If you feel like you have to keep giving up pieces of yourself to stay in the relationship, you’ll be in for a rude awakening down the line.

3) They constantly feel on edge

Feeling suffocated in your marriage will likely boost your anxiety.

Turns out, the constant strain of being in an unhappy relationship takes a toll on your mental and emotional well-being.

As you struggle to come to terms with the reality of what’s going on, you can suffer from heightened stress:

  • You get feelings of worry or apprehension without an obvious cause
  • You become easily irritable or experience mood swings
  • You have difficulty relaxing and feel on edge
  • You can’t focus and you find yourself worrying about the smallest things
  • You notice weird physical symptoms (insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, muscle tension, and so on)

We all go through periods of stress.

But if you’re always walking on eggshells or feel like you’re on the verge of a panic attack, there’s probably something deeper niggling at your subconscious.

4) They avoid conflict at all costs

Conflict is a natural component of marriage.

Regardless of how much you love your significant other, you’ll have disagreements you must navigate together.

In a healthy partnership, fighting brings you closer.

But if a woman feels trapped, she might avoid conflict altogether in an attempt to keep the peace.

Deep down, she realizes that something is amiss, yet she’s scared that once she broaches the topic, it will be like opening a can of worms.

Instead of addressing issues head-on, she avoids doing things or venturing opinions that would rock the boat.

Does that describe anyone you know?

Maybe you’re hoping that a period of seeming bliss will do both of you some good.

Or, you’re buying time to sort through your issues.

Whatever you’re telling yourself, you can’t avoid conflict forever.

Delaying the inevitable only makes things worse.

5) They seek validation from outside the marriage

In an effort to fill the void left by an unfulfilling marriage, women may seek validation from sources outside the relationship.

This could include friendships, online connections, or even extramarital affairs.

Alternatively, if they’re in denial about feeling trapped, they may work overtime to prove to the world that their marriage is perfect.

They’ll post sweet messages about their spouse on social media, insist they take perfect couple pictures, tell their loved ones they’re living the dream.

A friend once told me that whenever she sees a woman gushing about her partner online too much, she knows that their relationship is in trouble.

Besides, she might even make excuses for her partner’s bad behavior.

That brings me to the next point on the list.

6) They overcompensate for their partner’s shortcomings

I have a cousin whose ex-husband is… not the best.

Before she ended the relationship, she would overcompensate for his weird comments and actions by insisting he was the overlords’ gift to humanity.

He would get drunk at a family function, she would say that he works too much and is under a lot of pressure.

He would forget to buy her a birthday gift, she would say that he has a lot on his mind.

It went on like this for a couple of years. Then, she finally admitted she was deeply unhappy.

She said that, for a long time, she couldn’t see a way out of the marriage, so she tried to keep up appearances and make the best of a bad situation.

If you’re frequently making excuses for your partner’s behavior or trying to downplay any marriage issues, you two have work to do.  

Even if you might not realize it yet.

7) They stop planning for the future

Women who feel trapped in their marriage struggle to envision a future with their partner.

As a result, they stop setting long-term goals.

They develop a pessimistic view of the future, so they prefer to not think about it at all.

When their partner asks whether they should save for a bigger house, they change the subject.

When their partner wonders about where they should spend their next vacation, they say any destination is fine with them.

And when the subject of potentially expanding the family comes up, they continually postpone the conversation.

If you’re not excited about the future, there’s probably a reason why.

I strongly suggest you get to the bottom of things.

You’re doing yourself a disservice otherwise.

8) They fantasize about escaping

Finally, if a woman feels suffocated by her marriage, there’s a good chance she’s fantasizing about greener pastures.

It probably started innocently enough.

She saw a cute romantic comedy and imagined how nice it would be to find herself in the heroine’s shoes.

Now, she daydreams about escaping the marriage and starting a new life somewhere else whenever she experiences a moment of frustration.

Sounds familiar?

While these fantasies provide temporary relief, they can also exacerbate feelings of guilt or shame.

Unless you do something to change your circumstances, the fake scenario won’t sustain you for long.

Living in your mind is nothing compared to the real thing.

Don’t lose sight of that.

Final thoughts

Realizing that these behaviors are worrisome is the first step toward uncovering the underlying issues that make you feel trapped.

All marriages go through ups and downs, and acknowledging your dissatisfaction can be the jolt that pushes you to finally address the situation.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer about what to do next.

Start by talking things out with your spouse, who should be aware of your concerns.

Together, figure out how to proceed. You can explore counseling, spend some time apart, or try to reignite the spark that brought you together in the first place.

If these efforts fail, however, don’t blame yourself.

A relationship doesn’t have to last forever to be meaningful or to “succeed.”

When it no longer fulfills you, the best thing you can do for yourself is break free.

Something better will be waiting down the line.

When you encounter that something, you’ll be glad you took the leap.

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